Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Catholic FM radio station serves Walla Walla listeners
by Bonita Lawhead, for the Inland Register
(From the Nov. 13, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)
There’s a Catholic radio station in the Spokane Diocese. FM station KHSS 100.7 in Walla Walla is broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week, reaching three dioceses. The signal can be heard in this diocese, in the Yakima Diocese and the Diocese of Baker, Oregon.
Rod and Kimberly Fazzari of Walla Walla have operated the station for the past six years. The station featured classical music when they bought it. The Fazzaris added four hours of Catholic programming on Sunday mornings, starting with Mass at 5. About a year later, they expanded the Catholic programming to 24 hours on Sundays.
Fazzari recalled their modest beginnings, saying they didn’t have any experience and he didn’t think they’d make it. In 1999, he received a call from Doug Sherman, a man who owns Immaculate Heart Radio with several stations in Tahoe-Reno and Sacramento. Sherman wanted to know what it would take for Fazzaris’ station to broadcast all-Catholic programming.
The answer? Money. “We didn’t have any,” Fazzari said. “But Sherman was willing to help us.” Sherman, who is a convert, made an appeal to listeners on his stations with the result that the Fazzaris were able to change to an all-Catholic program format. “They supported us for 12 consecutive months,” Fazzari said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Most of the station’s programming comes via a satellite feed from the Eternal Word Television Network. The station does feature some other material – for instance, some of the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s programs – but there is one series the station carries with a special appeal to listeners. For nine months out of the year, it broadcasts 80 games of the DeSales High School Irish sports teams, starting with football in September right up through basketball in the spring. “If people tune in for the sports, they might stay tuned for something else (on our station),” Fazzari said.
That’s also the station’s philosophy regarding its other live programs: the Metropolitan Opera from New York and the Walla Walla Symphony. “We always hope they will stay tuned when those programs are over,” Fazzari said. The music shows are also part of the station’s motto: “To reclaim the culture.”
Conversion stories are an important part of the station’s programming, too. Fazzari told how in the first year their station operated, St. Patrick Church in Walla Walla gained six new members who credited KHSS with their desire to join the church.
Bishop William Skylstad was featured on the station some years back, when the audio portion of a television show he did in Spokane was aired on the Fazzaris’ station.
Fazzari is a software engineer and retained his day job to support his wife and six children, all of whom are still at home. He views the radio station as a ministry, saying he sees it as a low-key evangelizing tool. “We can invite people to listen and whoever wants to can do that,” he said.
Fazzari professed to be like his benefactor, Sherman, in loving his church. “I want to share it with everyone,” he said.